Consulting Action Planning: Guidelines & Resources

Sections of this topic

    Guidelines & Resources for Consulting Action Planning

    In my June 6th post, I discussed the preparation of financials for grant proposals and introduced the team members integral to this effort.

    This month’s post will continue with a review of budget templates, and details on what to include in budget narratives and budget justifications:

    Budget Templates:
    The Missouri Common Grant Application budget templates are available for download on the Gateway Center for Giving’s website.

    These line item program and operating budgets include both expenses and revenues and are identical except that depreciation is included as an operational expense and not as a program expense.

    Expenses: Salary and Benefits; Contract Services (consulting, professional, fundraising); Occupancy (rent, utilities, maintenance); Training & Professional Development; Insurance; Travel; Equipment; Supplies; Printing, Copying & Postage; Evaluation; Marketing; Conferences, meetings, etc.; Administration; Depreciation (operating budget only); and Other.

    Revenues: Local Government; State Government; Federal Government; Individuals; Foundation; Corporation; Federation (such as United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign); Membership Income; Program Service Fees; Products; Fundraising Events (net); Investment Income; In-Kind Support; and Other.

    These templates are very detailed, and I have found that many foundations request both program and operating budgets in simpler formats. These simpler line-item budgets include the following categories:

    Expenses: General and Administration; Program; Fundraising; Property, Plant & Equipment; and Other.

    Revenues: Individual Gifts; Foundation; Corporation; Government; Events; Program Service Fees; Interest Income; In-Kind Gifts; and Others.

    I recommend working with your team prior to the start of your next fiscal year to develop budgets in these formats for your organization’s annual operating budget and for programs that you plan to include in grant proposals. Determine which budget format to submit in your proposals based on the level of specificity the grantmaker requests, and if they don’t specify, then stick with the simpler format.

    Budget Narratives:
    Many foundations require a budget narrative in addition to your line item program budget. These narratives should include a description of the long-term viability of your program, how the program will be supported after funding from the foundation ends, and your organization’s fundraising strategies. In addition, this section usually includes a list of other foundations and corporations to which you have requested funding for this program, the amount, and status of each request, and future grant opportunities for this program.

    Budget Justifications:
    Some larger foundations (and certainly most, if not all, government grant applications) also require a justification for each item included in your line item program budget. If required, you will need to include a description of each line item expense listed in your program budget and why it is needed. Indicate whether the expense is new for your program or if funding is being requested to cover a current/existing expense. If possible, also explain why the expense is cost-effective.

    Lynn deLearie Consulting, LLC, helps nonprofit organizations develop, enhance and expand grants programs and helps them secure funding from foundations and corporations. Contact Lynn deLearie.
    Look for Lynn’s ebook on Grants & Grantsmanship.
    It’s part of The Fundraising Series of ebooks
    They’re easy to read, to the point, and cheap 🙂

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